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Field Marshall Haig: “The Butcher of the Somme”?

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Introduction

Field Marshall Haig: "The Butcher of the Somme"? A. Source A was written by Haig himself in June 1916, 1 month before the battle started. It is biased, as it was Haig himself who wrote it. It is also a primary source so there would have been no interference over time. This source gives Haig's views about modern warfare. This source could be used as a criticism of Haig, showing his coldness towards his troops. In some ways it proves that Haig did not care about the lives of his men but it also shows that no one else knew what to do either. Source A shows us that Haig knows that men will die: "...be won without the sacrifice of men's lives." Field Marshall Haig is prepared to sacrifice people's lives in order to gain some land and release pressure on Verdun: "... must be prepared to see heavy casualty lists." When Haig says, "The nation must be taught to bear losses", it makes it sound as though he doesn't care about his soldiers. However, Haig is being realistic and facing the truth, that there will be heavy casualties and people should expect this as then it wont be such a shock to them. B. After studying both source B and source C, I trust source C more. ...read more.

Middle

It is not a strategy at all, it's slaughter" almost everyone else knew it was slaughter but Haig wouldn't listen to what people said. "He knew he had no chance" only Haig thought that this strategy. I found out that G was a secondary source and it was written many years after the war in the 1930s by the German's. The source says that there was no point particularly in the war but the consequences were definitely great. The battle gave the "Western Powers confidence...accomplished an achievement so great that gave good promise for the future" they began to think that if they could achieve this hen they could achieve anything. It tells us that the Germans were beginning to lose their confidence in victory. "...best, most experienced and most reliable men officers..." this says that almost all the best men that Britain had were killed. "...made it necessary to send to the front a great number of young soldiers whose training was poor." This tells us that we did not have enough men so they had to send in untrained young soldiers into the war. Source H is a primary source though was written in 1973. It was written by a British general who fought in both world wars. As he was a British general he might have worked closely with Haig and he therefore might stick up for him, it was written many years later and his memory could have been altered by then from all the other things he had heard over the years. ...read more.

Conclusion

Source G was written by a German war official. I think what he said was true though I think that his views would be biased as a German wrote it. Source H was written by a British war general that had fought in both world wars, so he would have known as to what a general should have acted like and he obviously thinks that Haig was a good general. Source I was written by Lloyd George after he had visited the battle fields, he thinks that Haig had been doing a very good job and that the battle was going well. Source J was also written by Lloyd George though a lot later, in which he thinks that Haig hadn't done a very good job as a general. Over all I think that these source do support this view, from looking at the above sources it seems like Haig was uncaring and he didn't care about the lives of his men at all. Many people knew that his plans wouldn't work, yet Haig didn't think to ask any of the Tommy's as to whether they thought that the plans would work, as they knew more about the front line then anybody. Haig was willing to sacrifice the lives of his men for no good reason, other wise he would have done more research and found out all the faults to his plans. ?? ?? ?? ?? GCSE History Coursework - Sophie Manders (c) ...read more.

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